A Latino Creighton Prep student, who has achieved so much despite being separated from his parents by international borders, received a full ride scholarship to Creighton University.
Eduardo Aguilar, a senior at Creighton Prep who was born in the U.S., is the son of Mexican immigrants, who had come to the U.S. illegally. They were deported in 2009, leaving Aguilar and his older brother parentless in Omaha.
A few months after his parents’ deportation, Aguilar was reunited with them in Mexico, where he lived for three years. He said adjusting to a country that was unknown to him was difficult, and the dream of graduating from college, or even high school started to vanish.
At the age of 12, Aguilar says he knew the best way to overcome poverty and a life with limited opportunities was to head back to Omaha. “When I was 12, I told my mom, ‘I want to go back. I see no future for myself here at all because we don’t have any money. We’re poor. I don’t see myself going past high school.’”
Aguilar says he realized moving back would mean a world without his parents and endless struggles.
“After many talks with my mom and dad, they finally agreed to let me come back. They just wanted the best for me. But they were scared. I was only 12,” adds Aguilar.
Aguilar spent the next five years without seeing his parents, living in six different homes – including an aunt, his brother, family friends, and Jim Swanson, his Creighton Prep guidance counselor.
“When you define at risk, Eduardo would be at the top of that list,” said Swanson.
Aguilar, who says his dad didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, dreamt of making his parents’ sacrifice worth it by being the first in his family to attend and graduate from college.
With the help of Swanson and his family, Aguilar began his path to prepare for college.
But after years of financial obstacles, and without his ‘backbone’ (Aguilar’s parents), Aguilar received a surprise that would change his life – a full ride scholarship to Creighton University.
In a video provided by Creighton University, Father Daniel Henrickson, president of the university and Father Tom Nietzke are shown surprising Aguilar with the scholarship
“It’s incredible. It still feels like it’s a dream,” said Aguilar.
The reality is that Aguilar will have his tuition, including room and board all paid for, for the next four years by a scholarship worth about $200,000. The scholarship was paid by private donors, and the G. Robert Muchemore Foundation, who want to see Aguilar succeed.
In a phone interview with Aguilar’s parents, his parents told KMTV they are incredibly proud of his son and are honored to be his parents. They say they first made the decision to come to the U.S. for a better life and are blessed to have a son who is living the American dream.
Aguilar will begin his classes at Creighton University in the fall and will be studying business with hopes of one day working for Tesla.